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I would love to be able to paint like this:

Steve Hanks “Mother’s Pride” and “____” (Couldn’t find the title)

Or this:

(Grabbed from this website but no artist identification found)

For now, these are some of mine,  fuzzy from the scanner (they look better in real life):

A neighbour, who  now does only oils, recently lent me all of his watercolour books and gave me some paper and paints.  In those books I learned that I should never use paper that is less than 140 lbs if I want bright clear colours and the ability to layer and detail.  The paper I’ve been using is 90 lbs which these books say is for small children only.

I now have the heavier paper and am suddenly shy.  Until I try it out, I can say I could do better with better paper and blame the inferior paper for what I don’t like about the sketches.   I have fallen into the perfectionist trap of not trying something for fear of ‘failing’.  My fear is that my drawings will never get any better because I have mediocre talent.

In type, I can see this is ridiculous.  Of course I have mediocre talent; I’m not an artistic genius even in my mother’s generous view.  (This is a fact; I’m not fishing for a compliment.)  But with practice and after some paintings I don’t like, I can make good paintings.  It is practice that will determine my skill.  And each attempt gives me more practice.  My sketches are not reflective of my worth as a person, just a cumulation of my mood at the time, how distracted I was, and how much practice I’ve had.

Ok, I’m psyched up enough now to start.  Thanks imaginary audience for helping me feel like I’m not talking to myself.  Constructive criticism welcome.

7 thoughts on “Blank Page

  1. David says:

    I’m no art expert, but your work looks to me like it shows genuine promise. You have talent.

    As you paint more, you’ll begin to get more and more critical of your work, be more of a perfectionist. This is a good thing; it means you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and have a sincere desire to improve, and also most likely means that you are improving.

    Best of luck with your future paintings. Personally, I like your first one best. But like I said, I’m no expert. I don’t really know the meaning behind each one, if you intended one.

  2. ncsteph says:

    The words of encouragement that you write to your Self in those last 2 paragraphs are almost exactly what I said to MY Self lest night, while learning to make books… I want to be good at this, but the only way that will ever happen is if I TRY 🙂

    And I’ve seen some of your earlier drawings (including my face!), the style of which are reflected in these paintings… and I can definitely see development. I love your work, it’s natural & beautiful & creative & simple & opens up both artist & audience for emotional reflection, but everything can be improved upon — so keep growing!

    • prairienymph says:

      @ David, my perfectionism is a paralyzing fear of failure, not having high standards and challenging myself to do better which, as you point out, is a good thing. I’ll get there.
      I like the first one better too. No meaning in any of them. A friend asked me to do an earth angel, a warrior and a lover’s scene et voila.

      @ncstecph: what books are you making? Can I learn more?
      One day I’ll paint your eyes, or at least a snapshot of them. They change more than the sky.

  3. ncsteph says:

    learning how to make hand-crafted, artisan books and by the end of class, should be prepared to make editions (in small quantities) for anyone interested… but first I have to learn how to cut book board in a straight line! I did just start on Monday, so not expecting perfection — yet. 🙂 and that was remark about my eyes is probably the single best/most inspiring compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life. THANK YOU! xoxo

  4. ncsteph says:

    … anyone interested… in publishing their work! oops.

  5. David says:

    well then, remember the surest way to fail is to not try.

  6. TWF says:

    You’re not a master, but you are pretty darn good. I’m a bit of a hack artist myself, and if I had half the talent you had, I’d be pretty darn happy!

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